Thursday, July 12, 2007


TB patient flees hospital

LITTLE ROCK — A man placed in isolation after he was diagnosed with contagious tuberculosis broke a hospital window and fled, health officials said.

Unlike the Georgia lawyer who was under a federal quarantine after flying to Europe with what was then thought to be extensively drug-resistant TB, the man who fled has a form of tuberculosis that would respond to treatment, state health officials said. Franklin Greenwood, 50, is still contagious, though.

Mr. Greenwood was placed in isolation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital on June 29 after he was seen coughing up blood outside the city’s traffic court. He left the hospital July 1.


Homicide suspects arrested at border

SAN YSIDRO — Two men wanted on separate homicide charges were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers after they entered the San Ysidro border station from Mexico this week, CBP officials said yesterday.

Richard William Gunthardt, 45, of Hawthorne, was taken into custody Monday without incident after CBP officers performing counterterrorism records checks discovered that he was wanted on a $1 million warrant for homicide by Los Angeles authorities. A naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Netherlands, he was booked into the San Diego County Jail.

Fredy Orlando Obando Mejia, 40, wanted by Honduran authorities for homicide, was stopped Sunday after he entered the port driving a 2000 Cadillac Escalade owned by an acquaintance who was a passenger in the car. A resident alien who lives in Huntington Park, Calif., he was placed in a federal detention facility to await extradition to Honduras.


Reporter in bikini taped with source

CHICAGO — A television reporter left her job Tuesday after she was caught on video in a swimsuit at the home of a man whose wife disappeared two months ago.

The video — posted on rival station WBBMs Web site, — shows veteran WMAQ-TV reporter Amy Jacobson wearing a halter bikini top and towel near the pool at Craig Stebics suburban Plainfield home.

Mrs. Jacobsons two young children and a bare-chested Mr. Stebic are also shown in the video, shot Friday.

Mrs. Jacobson was assigned to cover the disappearance of Mr. Stebics wife, Lisa, who still lived with her husband while the two went through a divorce.


JFK cargo handler denies terrorist plot

NEW YORK — A former cargo handler at John F. Kennedy International Airport pleaded not guilty yesterday to orchestrating a terrorist plot to blow up the airport’s jet-fuel supply.

Russell Defreitas, 63, a Guyanese native, spoke in a whisper, telling U.S. Magistrate Lois Bloom that he understood the proceedings. His attorney then entered Mr. Defreitas’ plea.

Another court appearance was set for Aug. 2, the same day three other suspects face an extradition hearing in Trinidad.

Mr. Defreitas, Kareem Ibrahim, Abdul Kadir and Abdel Nur were indicted last month on five counts of conspiracy purporting that they plotted to cause death and destruction at the airport.


Stolen device had more ID data

COLUMBUS — A stolen computer storage device had triple the number of taxpayers’ identifications that had been previously reported, Gov. Ted Strickland said yesterday, but he emphasized there is still no indication that the data have been compromised.

The names and Social Security numbers of 561,126 persons who had not cashed state income refund checks were on the device, according to an ongoing review of the information it held. That brings the total number of taxpayers affected to more than 786,000, said Mr. Strickland, a Democrat.

The device was stolen June 10 from an intern’s unlocked car. Mr. Strickland said that no ID theft cases linked to the stolen device have been reported and that extracting data from it would require a high degree of knowledge and specialized equipment.


Indictments accuse collar-bomb victim

ERIE — A pizza deliveryman who robbed a bank and then was blown up by a bomb locked around his neck helped plan the robbery and then got caught up in something “much more sinister,” a federal prosecutor said yesterday.

The deliveryman, Brian Wells, 46, had told police before the bomb exploded in August 2003 that he was an innocent victim and had been forced by gunmen to rob the bank.

However, in the indictments unsealed yesterday, Mr. Wells is named as a co-conspirator. Two other persons — Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, who is serving a prison sentence for killing her boyfriend, and her friend Kenneth E. Barnes — are charged with bank robbery, conspiracy and a firearms count.

The bomb that killed Mr. Wells was on a timer, but it was not clear whether his reputed co-conspirators planned his death, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said yesterday. She described Mr. Wells as having a limited role in the plot but said she couldn’t comment on what his motive might have been.

“Sadly, the plans of these other individuals were much more sinister … and he died as a result,” Mrs. Buchanan said.


Streams polluted with E. coli

CHATTANOOGA — More than 500 streams in Tennessee are polluted with E. coli bacteria.

The state Department of Environment and Conservation says that more than 60,500 miles of streams were tested and that more than 5,000 miles had elevated levels of the bacterium, which comes from failed septic tanks, municipal sewer systems and runoff from livestock farms.


Dead pedestrian lodged in windshield

GREEN BAY — A motorist hit two pedestrians, then drove home with one of the bodies lodged in his windshield, police said. The man in the windshield died.

Police said Steve Warrichaiet was drunk when he struck the pedestrians as he returned home from a friend’s house late Sunday.

One pedestrian was found lying on a street, critically injured, but police said the second victim remained lodged in Mr. Warrichaiet’s windshield while he drove seven blocks home and parked in his garage.

Mr. Warrichaiet was charged Tuesday with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, hit-and-run involving death, injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and hit-and-run involving great bodily harm. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 77½ years in prison and a $275,000 fine. A judge set bail at $100,000.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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